CBEST Test Breakdown

Apart from having thorough knowledge of the subject which he is going to teach, a teacher should also exhibit a high level of those skills that are essential for excelling as an educator. CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) scores assist prospective educators in demonstrating these essential skills to their employers.

Skills Tested by CBEST

CBEST is not designed to test your ability to teach any skill; rather it is a measure of the basic educational skills that an efficient and successful educator should ideally posses. Passing the test before grant of teaching credentials ensures that all teachers have a minimum level of basic reading, writing and math skills irrespective of the subject that they would eventually be teaching. The exam is thus designed to assess your reading, writing and math skills of the level that is necessary for imparting quality education to school students and also to adults attending classes at adult education centers. CBEST consists of 3 test sections, one for each of the skills being assessed.

  • Reading Test Section:
    1. The 50 questions asked in this test section are designed to assess your reading skills. Not only will information be presented to you in the form of reading passages, but you will also be presented with tables and graphs that will have to be interpreted by you for extracting the information that is necessary for answering the questions that follow them. The information presented to you will come in varying levels of difficulty and will be drawn from an assortment of subject areas and fields.

    2. The questions asked will be multiple-choice questions in which you have to choose the correct answer from the given options. The fact that you have to choose the correct answer from the given answer options does not mean that you need not prepare for this test section. You need to have good comprehension skills to understand the text presented to you and you need to have the ability to draw inferences in order to answer the questions correctly.

    3. The good news here is that you will not need any subject specific knowledge to answer these questions. All information necessary for answering the questions will be provided to you. You will need your reading skills to interpret the given information for answering the questions.

    4. The questions asked in this test section will be drawn from two skill areas: - Critical Analysis and Evaluation: Accounts for 40 percent of the questions asked.

- Comprehension and Research Skills: Accounts for 60 percent of the questions asked.

  • Mathematics Test Section:
    1. There are 50 multiple-choice questions asked in this test section.
    2. The questions will be in the form of word problems that are designed to evaluate your skills in problem solving, measurement, estimation and in understanding graphs.
    3. You will have to carry out mathematical operations in order to solve the given problems. Hence, there is a need to be familiar with the basic concepts of mathematics.
    4. You are not permitted to use a calculator during the test. Refer to the official website, http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/index.asp for more information on the prohibited materials while taking the CBEST.
    5. The questions asked in this test section will be drawn from three skill areas:

- Estimation, Measurement and Statistical Principles: 30 percent of the questions asked are from this skill area.
- Computation and Problem Solving: Accounts for about 35 percent of the questions asked.
- Numerical and Graphic Relationships: Accounts for the remaining 35 percent of the questions.

  • Writing Test Section:
    1. This test section is an assessment of your abilities to express yourself by writing clear and concise essays that are free of grammatical and spelling errors. You will also be assessed for your abilities to focus on the topic that you are writing about. You will need to exhibit your skills in supporting your ideas with relevant examples.

    2. You will have to write two essays in this test section. One essay will require you to write about a personal experience and the second will require you to demonstrate your analytical skills by critically analyzing a given statement.